The Detroit Pistons have two options to mull over when it comes to Greg Monroe. They could either decide to extend his contract to a max deal (or awfully close to one), or they could opt to trade him before the Feb 20 trade deadline. Well, there’s a third option, technically. They could let him walk come this summer, when he becomes a free agent.
Either way, the Pistons are going to have to decide fairly soon.
The 23-year-old Monroe is averaging nearly 15 points and nine rebounds per game this season. Last year, as a 22-year-old, he averaged nearly 16 and 10. You don’t find that too often in a young big man. If the Pistons don’t want to pay him his worth (or potential worth), someone else will.
Perhaps that someone is the Washington Wizards.
One team that is interested in Monroe is the Washington Wizards, according to multiple league sources. It’s becoming clear that Washington is planning to pursue in Monroe, either through trade or free agency.
The Pistons are certainly a team to keep an eye on over the next month. Rival executives have said that there is “turmoil” within the organization and that they haven’t decided what to do as the deadline approaches.
If the Wizards are the “top suitors” for Monroe, at the very least over Detroit, they will definitely have some (if not all) leverage. Not only are the Wizards (20-20) likely to make the playoffs no matter if they make a trade deadline move or not, but with the contracts of Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza coming off the books after this season, they’ll likely have the cap space to sign Monroe to a hefty deal in the offseason.
In other words, the Wizards are not in a bind, where they feel they need to make the move for Monroe by the deadline.
However, if a trade is looming:
A deal structured around Monroe for Otto Porter might make sense. When Washington drafted Porter No. 3, he was more valuable than Monroe, but a slow start to his rookie year, even if injury related, has worn some shine off Porter. It’s way too early to write off Porter, which is why the Pistons might be interested.
What about Martell Webster or Trevor Ariza? Acquiring either for Monroe would probably make the Pistons better right now, adding much-needed shooting to a roster that might also benefit just from losing one of its three primary bigs. But Webster is four years older and Ariza five years older than Monroe. A trade like that would definitely say something about how desperate the Detroit is to win now at the expense of the future.
Even though all three of those options seem far-fetched, the Pistons might be forced into a move if they feel that Monroe is a sure walk come the summer. At this point, you have to feel good about your chances of landing Monroe if you’re Washington.